Colombo: Sri Lanka plunged deeper into crisis Saturday after President Maithripala Sirisena sacked parliament and called a snap election, leaving the country facing a further two months of damaging political paralysis.
Political parties representing a majority of members in the 225-member parliament closed ranks to denounce the Friday night dissolution as illegal and unconstitutional.
Shortly before sacking the legislature, Sirisena took over the police department by attaching it to his defence ministry. He also took control of the state printer, a crucial institution that publishes decrees and proclamations.
He had already taken control of all state media outlets soon after dismissing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on October 26.
Sirisena set elections for January 5, almost two years ahead of schedule, after it became clear that his designated prime minister — former president Mahinda Rajapakse — could not prove his majority when the assembly was set to reconvene on Wednesday.
Rajapakse, 72, was prime minister for two weeks without ever stepping into parliament. He would now continue as a caretaker premier until a new parliament meets on January 17.
A leader of Rajapakse’s party, Susil Premajayantha, said Sirisena sacked the legislature to end the power struggle and allow people to elect a new parliament.–AFP